Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fancy Pants Arugula

Eruca sativa (syn. E. vesicaria subsp. sativa (Miller) Thell., Brassica eruca L.), is an edible annual plant, commonly known as rocket (roquette) or arugula, not to be confused with Wild rocket. It is a species of Eruca native to the Mediterranean region, from Morocco and Portugal east to Lebanon and Turkey. It is closely related to Eruca vesicaria and included by some botanists in that either as a subspecies E. vesicaria subsp. sativa or not distinguished at all; it can be distinguished from E. vesicaria by its early deciduous sepals.
My Arugula that's bolted (a fancy way of saying it sent up flowers and goes to seed).
Arugula is one of the fancy pants lettuces. It has a very long history dating back to the Romans and you can currently find it on many a fancy restaurant menus. I want to like it. I want to enjoy it's peppery goodness. It's full of vitamins and all the good stuff we should have every day. 

But, it's just gross. 

It tastes like what I imagine weeds would taste like. It's one of those things I would have sworn I've eaten and liked. Of course, as all things are straight from the garden, I expected it to be delicious and lovely, a fancy addition to our weekday dinner salad. 

But, it's gross. 

I couldn't even force the kids to eat it. And, if not even I like it, Tigg was definitely not going to like it. So, I left it alone and it bolted. 

Then, surprise. The most darling, petite white flowers appeared. And, guess what! The flowers are edible. Tonight, since we have friends for dinner and I'm just cooking hot dogs for 7 kids, I'll fancy up the salad by tossing the arugula flowers over the top. I know it will look good but I'm not holding my breath in the taste department. 

UPDATE: Flowers were gross, too. Big surprise! I couldn't bring myself to have anyone else try 'em. They went straight to the trash. Oh, well. 

And, btw, Arugula is easy to grow... just in case after my raving review, you want to plant some.  In fact, I'll even send you the rest of my seeds! 

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